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Rangers show championship credentials

Miller joy

SCOTTISH title holders Rangers came back from a two-goal deficit to win at Pittodrie for the first time in 4 years courtesy of a 3-2 win.

Aberdeen no.9 Scott Vernon put the home side ahead on ten minutes after he beat the offside trap to slot past Allan McGregor after poor defending from Bougherra. It was the Dons’ first move of the match and it resulted in a goal.

Twenty minutes later and the Rangers supporters, taking up half the South Stand, could not believe their eyes as Chris Maguire beat Davie Weir to poke home from a clever Darren Mackie cross.

Within four minutes the champions had replied, with the tricky Vladimir Weiss weaving through the Aberdeen defence until being fouled in the box by Jeremy Ifil for a penalty. How defender Zander Diamond didn’t receive a red card for blatantly shoving Weiss off his feet straight after the foul I do not know.

Kenny Miller stepped up and cooly placed it down the centre of the goal for his tenth of the season. The 30-year-old Scotland forward is in the form of his life. Rangers continued to press for the equaliser but the half time whistle went with no threat from Aberdeen except ironically their two goals.

It was the Scotland striker who struck again six minutes after the break when Naismith broke clear, slipped the ball through to Steven Davis and the midfielder’s perfect cross to the back post was fired high into the net by Miller from 12 yards.

Nikica Jelavic came extremely close with an effort from the edge of the box that struck the outside of Jamie Langfield’s left hand side post. The big Croation striker, a £4m signing from Rapid Vienna, didn’t have long to wait for his goal.

The comeback was complete when the Aberdeen keeper’s clearance was met by Bougherra, when a Lee McCulloch flick over the advancing Dons defence put Naismith clear and the forward unselfishly rolled the ball into the path of Jelavic to place the ball into the unguarded net on the 67th minute mark.

Chris Maguire was sent off after two yellow cards on 86 minutes, but it didn’t change the outcome of the game. Rangers seen the game out with no worries from a very poor Aberdeen side who only managed to muster up 6 chances, two of them goals, to the Gers’ 13.

As the final whistle blew there was a sense of relief for Walter Smith who hadn’t tasted a victory in the Granite City since 1996, and for Rangers who hadn’t won since 2006. The champions went back to the top of the table, albeit on goals scored, and yet again produced a championship-winning mentality which will be extremely difficult to shift for Celtic.

Ibrox on a European night

Now they turn their attentions to Champions League action, where they face Bursaspor at Ibrox. The Turkish champions lost their opening game 4-0 at home to La Liga leaders Valencia, and will hope to come and grab at least a point in Glasgow.

With Jelavic being ineligible, Smith will go with Miller up top on his own. With Davis a doubt with a hamstring strain, Naismith may find himself in the centre of midfield, with Weiss and Lafferty on the flanks.

Let’s hope Smith is slightly cautious against the men from Turkey, but adopts an attacking attitude when we have the ball. We cannot afford to sit back like we did away to Manchester United, just like we most definitely cannot afford to open up like we did at home last year to Sevilla, Unirea Urziceni and Stuttgart.

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